Super Rugby: Riaan Viljoen's last-gasp try sees the Sharks beat the Blues
Last Updated: 29/06/13 4:33pm
A last-gasp try from Riaan Viljoen saw the Sharks beat the Blues 22-20 and deal a hefty blow to their visitors' play-off hopes.
The loss means the Blues have now lost their last nine games against the men from Durban in an unenviable record stretching back to 2005, while the victory was a welcome boost for the Sharks after a tough couple of weeks off the field that climaxed with coach John Plumtree leaving.
It leaves the Sharks in ninth position in the Super table, while the Blues are one place above their hosts.
When the action got underway, the Sharks adopted a typically forward dominated approach at Kings Park and it paid dividends in the first-half, with their points coming via mauls.
First it was flanker Marcell Coetzee on the back of a set play - with a bit of help from Tendai Mtawarira - to cross after Odwa Ndungane had been denied a try a few minutes earlier. There was no stopping the Springbok though, and with Pat Lambie's extras going over, the Sharks were 7-0 up.
The host's advantage was doubled five minutes later when the elusive Charl McLeod darted over, with Lambie again adding the extras.
Frank Halai got a try back for the Blues with half-an-hour played but Lambie hit a penalty on the stroke of half-time to give the dominant Sharks a 17-5 lead.
The Blues came out revitalised after the break and Halai went over for his second try on 42 minutes, capitalising on an overlap.
Things would further improve for the Blues moments later as substitute Rene Ranger shrugged off Lambie en route to a simple run in off the side of a ruck five metres out, with Chris Noakes adding the extras to level the scores.
Lambie missed a long range penalty for the Sharks and the Blues took the lead for the first time in the game when replacement Baden Kerr hit his own penalty just after the hour mark after Coetzee failed to roll away.
But with time up on the clock, full-back Viljoen scored the match-winning try to give Grant Bashford and Hugh Reece-Edwards - in charge of the Sharks following Plumtree's departure - a winning start.
Super Rugby 2013 Round 18
The Bulls all but wrapped up the SA conference after completing a clinical 48-18 victory over the Southern Kings.
South African conference leaders the Bulls take on the struggling Southern Kings in the Super XV on Saturday.
Highlanders host wildcard contenders Crusaders in Dunedin on Saturday looking to pick up only their third win.